Holy basil (O. sanctum) protects chromosomes from radation-induced damage. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Radiation protection of human lymphocyte chromosomes in vitro by orientin and vicenin.
Mutat Res. 2001 Nov 15;498(1-2):39-46. PMID: 11673069
Orientin (Ot) and Vicenin (Vc), two water-soluble flavonoids isolated from the leaves of Indian holy basil Ocimum sanctum have shown significant protection against radiation lethality and chromosomal aberrations in vivo. In the present study the protective effect of Ot and Vc against radiation induced chromosome damage in cultured human peripheral lymphocytes was determined by micronucleus test. In order to select the most effective drug concentration, fresh whole blood was exposed to 4Gy of cobalt-60 gamma-radiation with or without a 30 min pre-treatment with 6.25, 12.5, 15.0, 17.5 or 20 microM of Ot/Vc. Micronucleus (MN) assay was done by cytochalasin induced cytokinesis block method. Radiation significantly increased the MN frequency (16 times normal). Pre-treatment with either Ot or Vc at all concentrations significantly (P<0.05-0.001) reduced the MN count in a concentration dependent manner, with the optimum effect at 17.5 microM. Therefore, fresh blood samples were incubated with/without 17.5 microM Ot/Vc for 30 min and then exposed to 0.5-4Gy of gamma-radiation. Radiation increased the MN frequency linearly (r(2)=0.99) with dose. Pre-treatment with Ot or Vc significantly (P<0.01-0.001) reduced the MN counts to 51-67% of RT alone values, giving DMFs of 2.62 (Ot) and 2.48 (Vc). Both the compounds showed significant antioxidant activity in vitro at the above concentrations, which was significantly higher than that of DMSO at equimolar concentrations. Thus, the results demonstrate that both the flavonoids give significant protection to the human lymphocytes against the clastogenic effect of radiation at low, non-toxic concentrations. The radioprotection seems to be associated with their antioxidant activity. The clinical potential of these protectors in cancer therapy needs to be investigated.